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‘Numenera 2’ Kickstarter Combines A Brain-Bending Setting With Revolutionary Mechanics

‘Numenera 2’ Kickstarter Combines A Brain-Bending Setting With Revolutionary Mechanics

Each week we highlight a new and exciting game from Kickstarter! This week, we’re looking at Numenera 2: Discovery and Destiny

Numenera 2: Discovery and Destiny is the newest version of the role-playing game of far-future science fiction where player characters heave up a new civilization out of the ruins of the old through exploration and discovery and it’s on Kickstarter right now. Numenera 2 takes all the best of the original Numenera, and adds new character types and new rules for building a new world from the wreckage of eight billion years of decay and disintegration, but is 100% backward compatible, so whether you’re new to the game or a veteran numenera-hunter, now is a great time to hop on board.

Numenera: International Phenomena

Numenera‘s initial 2012 Kickstarter campaign raised over a half-million dollars, a record at the time. Since then, the game’s been reprinted four times, translated into six languages, produced over 60 supplements, and been the source material for computer game. The Numenera 2 Kickstarter is already on its way to grossing $400,000. By any standard, the game is a sensation.

Tens of thousands have been drawn to the game by its combination of a fresh setting and 21st-century mechanics.

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Welcome to the Ninth World

“They say there have been eight worlds before ours. Eight times the people of this Earth, over vast millennia, built their civilizations, reaching heights we cannot even fully imagine now. They spoke to the stars, reshaped the creatures of the world, and mastered form and essence. They built cities and machines that have since crumbled to dust, leaving only their barest remnants.

“This is the Ninth World. The people of the prior worlds are gone—scattered, disappeared, or transcended. But their works remain, in the places and devices that still contain some germ of their original function. Some call these magic, but the wise know that these are our legacy. They are our future. They are the… numenera. “

Set a billion years in the future, the Earth of Numenera is nigh unrecognizable. Winds of flesh-eating nanobots consume all they find. Bizarre constructs loom above the horizon. And below the earth, the curious can discover ruins and wonders.

Even the dirt of this distant future world is changed. Looked at closely, and it is not the black organic matter of the 21st century. Rather, every speck of it is a crumbled piece of concrete, machinery, or glass ground down by the weight of eons into specks smaller than a grain of sand.

Numenera takes the core activity of many role-playing games and improves it. This far-future setting gracefully resolves a number of logical problems which have bedeviled dungeon-delvers since the days of Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax. Why is there so much cool stuff lying around that’s powerful and dangerous? It’s left over from a ruined civilization. How can magic be a real thing? It’s nanobots that pervade the environment, and obey the commands of the strong-willed. Why am I risking life and limb exploring places with names like the Caves of Unending Abomination when I could be a rat-catcher and live to 100? Because we need the tools and tech inside to scratch out a living for our village.

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Additionally, Numenera‘s far future setting puts an emphasis on wonder. Player characters can be transported to the sun’s corona, or take a ship for a cruise around the solar system. If every RPG is a vacation for the mind, Numenera’s world is particularly worth the trip.

The mechanics of the game are as fresh and novel as the setting. All die rolls are player-facing, so the GM never has to roll the dice. Furthermore, Numenera takes language and makes it into a character creation mechanic. Every player character is an adjective noun that verbs.

For example, a learned (adjective) nano (noun) that howls at the moon (Technically an adjective clause, I know, but this is gaming! Relax, have some fun, and let it verb…) would be a smart wizard-type who was proficient using nanobots to achieve what the ignorant might call “magic,” but every once and awhile, she turns into a half-wolf beast.

If you’re a total tyro to Numenera, they have a starter adventure and starting rules that you can check out for free here!

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The New, Neat, & Novel in Numenera 2

But what if you’re a hard-bitten veteran? Someone who knows their bloodfeast tick from a blood barm? There’s a ton of buttery, sizzling, sci-fi hotness for you to scarf down too.

The Kickstarter will give birth to two new corebooks: Numenera Discovery and Numenera Destiny. Discovery is a revision of the core rules, but one that is 100% backward compatible with all existing products.

But Numenera Destiny is something new and something different.

Numenera creator Monte Cook said that Destiny opens up new play space for campaigns in the Ninth World. On the Modifier Podcast, Mr. Cook said,

“First and foremost, for a long time I have wanted to address what I see as the ‘other half’ of Numenera. We have talked since the original Kickstarter about exploring the ruins of the past to build a better future. We’ve covered the first half- exploring the weird past- but the other half is taking what you discover in your adventures and doing something with it. Now seems like a great time to focus on that building a better future part.

That’s the concept behind Numenera Destiny. But we figured since we’re uncovering a whole new play experience with that book, it’s also a great time to also make some needed updates and revisions to the existing corebook, so Numenera Discovery was born.”

And apparently, one of the ways that player characters will be able to “build a better future” is by building spectacular and marvelous vehicles. Mr. Cook said Destiny, “will include comprehensive rules on building vehicles, so PCs can salvage numenera to create a hovercraft or ornithopter or giant mech or anything else they want to design and then drive around the Ninth World.”

Players will be able to build their own vehicles. (“So shiny! So chrome!”) That sounds better than chicken and waffles for breakfast.

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Finally, the Kickstarter campaign will produce The Trilling Shard, a supplement describing a settlement named Ellomyr which will only be available to Kickstarter backers.

So rocket over to Kickstarter right now to start building a better tomorrow with Numenera 2!

What games do you love that have been brought to you by Kickstarter? Let us know in the comments below!

Image Credits: Monte Cook Games


Ben Riggs speaks five languages and has lived in four countries on three continents, but still manages to lose his keys in the bathroom. A friend to man, animal, and werewolf alike, you can discover more of Ben’s thoughts on game, the universe, and everything on Twitter, or on the Plot Points podcast. 

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